Big Mac scores timely markers

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D., -- Thrust into a checker's role, Clarke MacArthur still reverts to his old ways. Not that anybody involved with Canada's national junior team is going to complain.

MacArthur may be among the top-10 in the WHL's scoring race but the Medicine Hat Tigers sniper is being counted on as a more defensive forward at this tournament.

Yet, there he was scoring twice in Canada's 7-3 victory over Slovakia yesterday afternoon.

"Just getting some breaks," MacArthur said in an 'aw shucks' manner. "It's great for our line to get rewarded."

The end result may have been one-sided but it certainly wasn't a done deal when Canada was trying to defend a five-on-three late in the third period. But that's when MacArthur came through with his two tallies.

First, he teamed up with Patrice Bergeron and Colin Fraser within seconds of helping kill the final penalty.

"Fraser and Bergeron were kicking it around really nice and made a great pass to me. It was just a tap-in, so I have to give them the credit," MacArthur said.

With seven ticks left on the clock, though, he showed why he's netted 41 points (14-27-41) in 30 WHL contests this season.

Given a penalty shot because Slovakia goalie Jaroslav Halak threw his stick in an attempt to deny a wraparound, MacArthur snapped a perfectly-placed shot low on the blocker side.

"I was looking to go there all the way," he said. "It was a lucky shot. It just wanted to get off a quick shot because the ice was really chippy at the end."

Canada's entry at the world juniors isn't short on scoring, with the likes of Bergeron, phenom Sidney Crosby, London Knights star Corey Perry and Calgary Hitmen leaders Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd just to name a few.

Which puts a player like MacArthur, who skated on a line with Fraser -- the Red Deer Rebels captain -- and Cape Breton's Stephen Dixon, in the spot of a checker.

MacArthur may have shown he could be counted on to score but he doesn't mind being asked to show the other side of his game.

"It's a lot of pressure off my back, that's for sure," the Lloydminster product said. "Our top two lines are phenomenal, so our job's to keep the puck out of our net and create a little energy.

"It's great. I love doing it."


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